I still feel that the first 200 pages or thereabouts should have been livelier, but...I'm much happier with the book at this point. I think something linked to Cery the Thief's story arc could have exploded into more action--maybe even just one major skirmish of some sort; though I'd never ask for random padding in a contrived manner--in the early-going, if there was no logical way, plotwise, to put Lorkin or Sonea in more suspenseful situations until Lorkin left home and entered potentially hostile Sachaka. now--thankfully!--everybody's got problems: Lorkin is on the run with an untrustworthy ally thanks to a strange death, and back in Kyralia, Sonea is taking a big risk with her future, while Cery is hunting the Thief Hunter in clever ways that could easily backfire. so...I begin to see myself invested in the characters, enough to do a trilogy. thank goodness the author has a highly enjoyable, clean writing style, while doing a lot of set-up--set-up which is starting to pay off. it also helps to finally see some more formidable magic use, now that all the star characters are in big trouble. hoping things get even more exciting.